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Flats – King Tuts, Glasgow

Flats_King_Tuts_02_Mar_11 296
If you like your music loud enough to strip the enamel from your teeth then Flats may be just what you are after. Officilally the seond loudest band reviewed by ELM – the honour remains with the Fall –  Flats bring their own brand of thrashy punk to King Tuts. It may be cold outside but it’s hot in here. This may be due to the blood pouring from everyone’s ears.
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The Kissaway Trail/Kurran and the Wolfnotes – King Tut’s, Glasgow

For a venue that is happy to trade on how quirky and non-corporate it is, King Tut’s can be awfully cynical sometimes. It has a policy of putting acts on that bit later than most – approximately two hours later, in fact. Why? Well, the ever-thrusting spirit of rock’n’roll of course; anarchy and sticking it to the man. We won’t play by your rules. Because the night, as someone once suggested, belongs to lovers. Because the night belongs to us.

Absolutely nothing to do with getting people in longer and later and making more money in bar takings. Not that at all. Continue reading

Fanfarlo/First Aid Kit – Glasgow King Tuts

FanfarloIt’s difficult to know, sometimes, where homage ends and pinching begins. Some are honest about it, viewing it as source material to try to create something new. Others do it and get precious when people point it out to them (Editors ludicrously deny any debt to Joy Division.)

Fanfarlo dress like the Arcade Fire, play like the Arcade Fire and sound like the Arcade Fire. Indeed, such is their sheer obviousness, it’s pretty easy to get past it and focus on a simple truth; Fanfarlo are very, very good. Continue reading

New to You – Indian Red Lopez

IRLWe recently saw Indian Red Lopez at Glasgow King Tuts and were most impressed. We caught up with the guys recently to discuss life, music and shooting Bono. Amazing how often that comes up round here….

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Hinterland Update

Hinterland rocked like a mutha, it must be said. We’ll be bringing you interviews with Jeffrey Lewis, the Voluntary Butler Scheme and Phantom, as well as unrivalled gig reviews from our team in the field and exclusive photographs from the Wookie, including one of Mark E.Smith that is giving us all nightmares.

We also found time to see the mighty Art Brut at Stereo last night, so we’ll have full coverage of that as well.

This will all be coming your way this week, so don’t forget to keep coming to the site as the articles will be coming by thick and fast!

While we drink de-toxifying drinks and rest our weary legs, here’s ‘Multiplayer’ by the brilliant Voluntary Butler Scheme, aka Rob Jones, a wonderfully nice bloke in a not-so-pleasant industry who just happens to be brilliant as well. Enjoy.

The Phantom Band – Glasgow, King Tut’s

The Phantom Band, somewhat aptly, have been a rather spectral presence in the Glasgow live scene of the last few years. Initially, they seemed completely anti-fame – changing their name for each gig, wearing masks on stage, never playing the same set twice – in what looked like an almost wilful refusal to engage with an audience, or perhaps more honestly, a refusal to allow an audience to connect with them.

Their emergence as a confident, functioning unit over the last year or so culminated in 2009’s first truly great British album, the engagingly strange ‘Checkmate Savage’, an album which didn’t so much refuse to be pigeonholed into a genre as smash the whole concept of genre up entirely.

On their first proper, bona fide headlining tour, they’ve developed significantly since ELM last saw them in December. Perhaps the keyword here is confidence; the ecstatic press reaction to ‘Checkmate Savage’ has been uniform. And never underestimate the power of playing to a partisan crowd. This is, after all, a home town gig, and the band seemed determined to deliver. Live, the album gains a more muscular tone, without losing the slightly eccentric edges which lend it it’s somewhat grandiose oddness.

There are elements of space rock, fusion, eastern, folk and rock going on here, a strange mixture of influences yet sounding wholly organic. From the autobahn-traversing ‘Crocodile’ to the genuinely left-field anthem ‘The Howling’, theirs is a peculiar beauty, which certainly seems to find favour with the sell-out crowd.

Highlight is the really rather beautiful ‘Islands’, one of those melancholic but joyful ballads Scottish bands seem to specialise in. It’s taken the Phantom Band years to find their feet and have the confidence to deliver, but now they are doing it and it seems only the confines of their own imaginations can limit them. On this evidence though, don’t expect that to happen any time soon. A great band moving forward really quickly.

The Pictish Trail/HMS Ginafore – King Tuts, Glasgow

The idea of the musical commune is one which is easy to disparage. It conjures up images of naive hippies smacked out on Haight-Ashbury, of anarcho-punks in squats in Brixton, of 2000 kids dressed identically yet proclaiming their individuality at a My Chemical Romance gig. It doesn’t, in the main, have a good image.

One of the few that is difficult to mock, however, is Fife-based Folk label the Fence Collective. Best known for label co-founder King Creosote and the acclaimed work of James Yorkston, they’ve inhabited their own world for a while now, releasing a series of excellent records with very little commercial drive which, paradoxically, have gone on to hit a much broader audience. Indeed, the audience all seem to know each other. A Fence Collective show isn’t so much a concert as a party.

We start with a rare performance from HMS Ginafore, aka one very beautifully voiced lady called Jenny Gordon, who sits and strums an acoustic guitar while singing sad, reflective songs laced with a delicate humour and enough bathos to stun Neil Tennent. She has a cold, she explains, which is why she is supping from a mugful of port. This being a Christmas show, she starts with a haunting rendition of ‘Good King Wenceslas’ before moving through a selection of her own work.

She’s funny, and she’s great and she’s clearly very nervous but the fragility only adds to the overall beauty of the music. She asks someone to bring her another drink, which arrives midsong and everyone laughs and you do feel a part of something more than just a show. After half an hour of gorgeous lo-fi melancholia, she ends with a haunting ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Lovely.

And then on to the Pictish Trail, which is the band name for label co-founder Johnny Lynch. Tonight it is basically a folk supergroup, featuring James Yorkston and Adem. Lynch has always been in the shadows of Kenny Anderson, label co-founder and the afore-mentioned King Creosote, but whisper it, he may actually be the greater talent. Starting with a solo acoustic run-through of Hot Chip’s ‘And I Was A Boy From School’, he really takes off when backed by the band. With a voice as sweet and warming as a good single malt, he bashes out some gloriously insistent electro-folk-pop, if such a genre exists. Well versed in the nagging, angular post-punk folk that Big Country (pre-big hair) don’t get the credit they deserve for, he absolutely raises the roof with ‘Secret Sound’ which is as white, sparkly and magnificent as a frost-covered field.

There’s some Nick Drake in there, some John Martyn, but also some Beck and Syd Barrett. it could be a mess, but it never is, for Lynch knows his pop as the Hot Chip cover shows and never allows this to become a racket. The show ends with the surreally beautiful sight of James Yorkston packing up his gear as Lynch plays his final acoustic song because he’s on the twenty to twelve train to London. That’s the Fence Collective in a nutshell. Gloriously oddball, wilfully brave and never less than interesting.